Celebrating Our Weaknesses: Changing our thorns into thrones
Changing our thorns into thrones,
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Note to Facilitators: This Facilitator’s Guide is subject to the Holy Spirit, as you are led by the Spirit use, add or omit as you see fit. I would encourage you to always do the GEL and GEARUP.
(Connect) How old were you when you learned to swim? Who taught or helped you?
Ask for any prayer requests or praise reports
This week Pastor Margaret spoke on “A Thorn in the Flesh”. She shared an illustration from Hannah Whitehall Smith’s book, “Hind’s Feet in High Places.”
“She bent forward to look, then gave a startled little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying in the palm of his hand, but it was shaped exactly like a long, sharply-pointed thorn… ‘The seed looks very sharp,’ she said shrinkingly. ’Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?’ He answered gently, ‘It is so sharp that it slips in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know pain too.’ Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and repeated his words to herself. ’When the seed of Love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be loved in return,’ and a strange new courage entered her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared her heart, and said, ‘Please plant the seed here in my heart.’ His face lit up with a glad smile and he said with a note of joy in his voice, ‘Now you will be able to go with me to the High Places and be a citizen in the Kingdom of my Father.’ Then he pressed the thorn into her heart. It was true, just as he had said, it did cause a piercing pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a sweetness she had never felt or imagined before tingled through her. It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger. She thought of the Shepherd’s words, ‘It is so happy to love,’ and her pale, sallow cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shown. For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all.” Hannah Whitehall Smith, Hinds' Feet on High Places
What does this illustration say to you about things that have happened in your life?
Is there a time when you became bitter against God?
Do you see that there is always a reason for the things we have to deal with in our living?
Does God bring trials or tests to us, or allow them?
Look at the Scripture Pastor Margaret first used: 2 Corinthians 12:5-10. “That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But, I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Stan to torment meSo now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need, My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Look also at Philippians 3:12-14.
Give each person an index card. Have them write on the top:
“This is something I am weak in, so the Lord must help me with His strength. “
Hold the card to your chest and ask Jesus to allow his power to change things.
This is for you, so keep it in your Bible or somewhere close for your eyes only.
Invite a friend to Church. This month is Invite a Friend to Church month. Make a deliberate effort to invite at least 1 person to church this week.
Healing Conference with Richard Mull is August 1-2. Please sign up now to participate. Champions Church attendees will receive $5 off the $20 donation fee. Registration is online or at the Welcome center. Give out flyers
If you have not began the “Building Champions Discipleship” Process, Level 1 (Called to Follow) & Level 2 (Masterlife ) resumes soon. Check the bulletin for registration and orientation dates.